The Redemption of Marilyn Manson

 
"It's a war against myself for not being as great as I should be." 
- Marilyn Manson (Metal Hammer, June 2012)
 
Though we have already taken a glance at Marilyn Manson in the summer of 2009, where I showed that it was perhaps Marilyn Manson's most violent period, partly in reference to the threats he was making at journalists during that time, I never brought it to a conclusion, which is why I am devoting this post to the redemption of Marilyn Manson.

In the June 2012 issue of Metal Hammer, Manson's summer of 2009 was summarized pretty well by the interviewer:

"The bottom of the barrel came in the summer of 2009. Taking the stage at the Download festival, he looked, to put it bluntly, off his tits and the set was a total car crash. If you'd have shown the Manson of '96 a video of what he just delivered, he'd have blown his fucking brains out" was the summary of a close Manson associate directly after the set. During that same period, while being interviewed for The Times, Manson showed the journalist a picture of his then girlfriend, porn actress Stoya, with a swastika that he'd shaved into her pubic hair. He was also set to attend the Metal Hammer Golden Gods to collect our Icon award but, after his publicist had tried to coax him out of his hotel room for four hours, he failed to show, then going on to issue a statement: "I would have melted the award into a shank so I could shank the fuck out of every goddamn fucking journalist in the entire continent of the United Kingdom except Metal Hammer."

In the previous post I made, mentioned above, I had also stated that while this was Manson's most violent period, he was not in a relationship with any woman that has now come to accuse him of abuse. He was with the pornstar Stoya, with whom he had more of a brother/sister relationship than anything else, as he later admitted. Both of them were getting a lot of negative press at the time, but Manson in particular because of his public meltdowns with the press, off the mark live shows that were being superseded by Rammstein and Slipknot, and erratic public behavior. Even before this he was getting bad press in the tabloids because he was dating the much younger Evan Rachel Wood. But this was also the summer Manson talked about fantasies of smashing Evan Rachel Wood's head open, which came out shortly after Evan started dating other men following their first break up in which Manson was rejected by Evan after he proposed to her. Perhaps the worst of all, for Manson at least, was that he had to now go out night after night and perform music in front of his adoring fans that was primarily inspired by his ex-girlfriend Evan Rachel Wood, which is probably why Manson was performing in an altered state every night.

However, Manson's public image depends a lot on the media, and during this time the media was coming to really hate Manson, which Manson would respond with a death threat or two, to the point where Manson was becoming a sympathetic figure, since due to the nature of the media having the upper hand in disseminating information, they would always have the last word. Also, it was profitable to show him the hate and have fun by trying to make a mockery of him. This was an opportunity to make the devil into a clown.

When Metal Hammer was interviewing Manson in June of 2012, Manson was already on his path of redemption. And in order to redeem yourself, you need to humble yourself, admit you were wrong when you were wrong, and then make amends for those wrongs. This is what Manson did. Some would argue, like myself, that Manson even took his redemption too far, especially when he started apologizing for his two albums that came out of that dark period - Eat Me, Drink Me and The High End of Low - which I consider to be some of his most brilliant work, but because he regretted intersecting his personal life with his music, it became something he felt the need to apologize for. As he said in Metal Hammer:

"The last two albums are not albums that I think represent me as well as this new record, or the ones previous to them. The High End Of Low was just a case of surviving. I don't know what would have happened if I hadn't released that record and that's literal. It's a sad record for me and those around me, but that was a time where sadness was the emotion that existed within me...."
 
Now in 2012, he had this to say to the media, after being reminded that he said he wanted to shank every journalist:
 
"If anybody should be stabbed it should be me. It was a bad time and I can't blame anybody but myself. Shit was fucked up! I identify with Californication's Hank Moody or Eastbound & Down's Kenny Powers or Dexter because they're characters that are fuck-ups. But you see redemption in them and that's what I had to realise about myself. I realised that I'm the dog that shits on the floor and people will let me get away with it and that even if I'm charmingly reprehensible, I want to be better."
 
He went on to say:

"I remember thinking "Why is everything falling apart around me?" I can't create art when I'm not inspired so maybe I'm not inspiring my friends and the people who work with me. Maybe I need to be a better inspiration and more aggressively delivering. I don't feel pissed off or sad at myself anymore. I feel like I can accomplish anything I want to and it's been a while since I felt that. That's what this new record [Born Villain] has been about. It's essentially redemption. You can talk all you want, but now I've got a record, I can play something to people that they can believe in. The greatest weapon I had in the war against myself was getting control of my own life. I didn't need rehab or religion or a relationship."
 
Though Manson was embarking on a new path, he didn't claim to be fixed or rehabbed. He was still a rock star who drank and did drugs, but now instead of doing it in a pathetic sort of way, he was doing it in an elegant sort of way. As he went on to explain:

"I'm not saying I'm fixed; I don't want to be fixed. I'm in a position to not allow myself to be less than the person I'm supposed to be. I've always known that and that's what sucked about being depressed. You get depressed because you know that you're not what you should be. You need to pull your pants up, put your boots on and start kicking your own ass. That's the only way out. It was a case of me pulling my shit together and realising this is what I've wanted to do my whole life. This is supposed to be fun, why is it not fun any more? I realised that it's rock 'n' roll. It's meant to be exciting and fun."

In 2012 Lindsay Usich also officially became Manson's girlfriend, which helped him in his path towards redemption. Previous relationships were a distraction for him, making him concentrate more on how messed up they were than he looking at how messed up he was.
 
"I have noticed that I'll attach myself to identifying with the wrong thing. Whether that be a relationship or a concept. Fixing something else that's broken would fix what's wrong with me. I've described myself as a flypaper for damaged women. I've often attracted myself to things that are more complicated than myself because I didn't want to deal with being me."
 
This was 2012. But Manson's path towards redemption began in 2010, after his engagement with Evan Rachel Wood. For Manson, his revived relationship with Evan also revived his art, and now that he was done touring and had time to reevaluate things, he began to look at his previous behavior and wanted to make amends. We see an example of this in an article that was published in LA Weekly by Erin Broadley on May 4, 2010. Almost a year earlier it was she who published the LA Weekly cover story "Buddyhead Redux", which some say initiated Manson's feud not only with Buddyhead, but also the media. On May 2, 2010 Manson invited her to have champagne with him at the Magic Castle, where he was supporting his friend Rudy Coby. He wanted to show her that he was not angry with her.

When they met that night, initiated by a joke by Manson, they discussed everything that transpired almost a year before. Interestingly, one of the first things she said was that for libel reasons they never published the name of his girlfriend who was known as "Snowflake", because she was the one who would hold the cocaine during Manson's concerts during the Rape of the World tour. Of course, now we know that "Snowflake" was in fact Evan Rachel Wood. To this, Manson responded: "You should have [named her]. What you wrote was true." Thus, here Manson confirms that Evan Rachel Wood's nickname was "Snowflake", who held on to the cocaine during the Rape of the World tour.

After the show, they continued the conversation, and when she told Manson that it was not right that he threatened the life of journalists on his MySpace blog, where his fans were liking it, he replied that his comments were "not smart" in light of what happened at Columbine, and told her also that his comments were not directed towards her or LA Weekly, but at the same time when he wrote them he was probably under the influence of something. Then he excused himself to go to the bathroom, and handed her his business card, which was a replica of the same card used by Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. Having begun and ended the conversation with a joke, this is pretty much where that conversation ended. He wasn't looking for confrontation, but to show her that he had nothing against her, even though she thought he did.

The story does not end there. Having now met, it turned out they actually quite liked each other. Manson's redemptive process continued with Erin Broadley, despite their controversial relationship since the summer of 2009, when in February of 2011 he asked her to write his first authorized biography, which would have been her first published book.  Manson had this to say regarding the new book: "I asked Erin Broadley to write an objective account of my life because I have great respect for her. I think she has the balls to be the next Lee Miller." (Lee Miller was a Surrealist-era journalist, famous for her work with Man Ray and breaking into Hitler's apartment while working for Vogue during WWII.) Erin announced this new venture on Twitter. This biography never came to be, however, for whatever reason, but it does show that Manson chose a respected female journalist who had the balls to stand up to him, show all his warts, and pull no punches to write his biography instead of someone who would do a mere puff piece on him which would give him control over the content.
 
 
In an interview with Dazed in September 2016, Manson was asked if he would like to apologize to anyone at that point in his life, when he was going through losses among his friends and family  and even his beloved cat Lily. To this he replied:
 
"I try to fix problems and not make new ones. And I try to apologise like a gentleman, even though I’m a scoundrel and a villain and everything else people want to call me. I feel a responsibility to always make amends for mistakes. I’ve made my apologies, made my amends with enemies of the past, and made my peace with them. I’ve got a clean slate right now."
 
From this we can assume that similarly to Manson's encounter with the journalist from LA Weekly in May of 2010, this was something he continued to do as he was pursuing his path towards redemption. In fact there are other similar incidents, but I am just submitting this as an example to make a point.

People these days are accusing Manson of being a monster without a conscience, completely evil, someone who should be put away for the rest of his life, who has no sense of morality and goodness. The reality however is that Manson is a self-aware human being, who like most people has his ups and his downs and makes mistakes along the way, but he is always pulled towards doing the right thing towards people he may have done wrong to, whether under the influence or not, and is not ashamed to make this known. He confronts the issues he has created, and from the dirt plants the seed that he hopes to blossom forth into a beautiful flower. He seeks what is good and right for himself, for his fans, for his family, for his friends and for those that love him and that he loves. If he fails, he aims towards redemption, just like if someone falls they seek to get back up again. Every one step backward he takes two steps forward. This is not the psychological profile of a psychopath, despite what others want us to believe. Nor is it the psychological profile of a narcissist, when he has had to admit he was wrong so many times. It is the wrongs that he has done that have humbled him, taught him and redeemed him and allowed him to evolve as an artist and a human being. His accusers do not want you to be aware of this side of him.